Category Archives: Introductions.
Today I’m very pleased to show all of you an exciting new book by the wonderful Kate Danley. Queen Mab.
Two demigods both alike, but one of day and one of night, in fair Verona do meddle with the Houses of Capulet and Montague…
When Faunus, the god of daydreams, breaks the heart of Queen Mab, revenge can be the only answer. Using the most powerful families in Verona, they wage their war against one another,
and place their final bets upon the heads of two teenagers, one named Romeo and the other named Juliet.
But when Queen Mab meets a gentleman named Mercutio, the world changes. She falls in love and will do anything, even if it means destroying the world, to save him. Will it be enough to stop the tragedy? Or only spur it forward to its terrible end?
Weaving Shakespeare’s original text into a new fantasy, fans of The Woodcutter will delight in this loving retelling by award-winning author Kate Danley. Experience the romance and passion of Romeo & Juliet from a different point of view – through the eyes of the bringer of dreams… Queen Mab.
Kate Danley’s debut novel, The Woodcutter (published by 47North), was honored with the Garcia Award for the Best Fiction Book of the Year, the 1st Place Fantasy Book in the Reader Views Literary Awards, and the winner of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Other titles include Queen Mab, the Maggie MacKay: Magical Tracker series and the O’Hare House Mystery series.
Her plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, and DC Metro area. Her screenplay Fairy Blood won 1st Place in the Breckenridge Festival of Film Screenwriting Competition in the Action/Adventure Category. Her projects The Playhouse, Dog Days, Sock Zombie, SuperPout, and Sports Scents can be seen in festivals and on the internet. She trained in on-camera puppetry with Mr. Snuffleupagus and recently played the head of a 20-foot dinosaur on an NBC pilot.
She lost on Hollywood Squares.
You can find Queen Mab on Amazon.
And here’s Kate’s author page.
In somewhat of a special appearance of my blog, I’m please to introduce the fantastic Seleste Delaney, author of Kiss of Death and Badlands.
Here’s a little about Kiss of Death:
Too many years of killer vamps have triggered the curse of the Blood Kissed. They’ve awakened the bloodline that can alter their world, because her blood has the power to control them all—even make them destroy each other.
Jocelyn thought her troubles with vampires were over when she drove a stake through her boyfriend Max’s heart a year ago. Even though she’s engaged to Chad now, she’s never really forgotten him. Now Max is back, and Chad is taking her into the heart of the vamp community—and they’re the ones trying to keep her alive. The ones who love her and each seek to claim her for their own. Because once the elders know who she is, they’re all going to want her… or want her dead.
And here’s a short excerpt:
Music still pumped out of the club as the door opened and a pair of giggling humans staggered out, clearly drunk and obviously recently bitten. “Hey, handsome—” one crooned as she stumbled and grabbed his arm, “—wanna come party with us? We’ll show you a real good time.”
He reached out with a surge of power. “Go show each other a good time. It’ll be better for your health.” Yanking his arm free from her grip, he stalked up to the door. The club acted like nothing had happened, like his fiancée hadn’t been snatched up by some no-name vampire and driven off into the night. Business as fucking usual.
At the entrance, he shoved Trevor into the corner between the door and the wall. “Who was the fucker that came running out of here with the hu…” He glanced at the people still standing in line to get in. “—woman I came with? Got in an old blue pickup.”
“Yeah, that was pretty messed up.” Trevor ran a hand over his scalp, acting like being manhandled was a nightly occurrence worthy of nothing more than an arched brow. “I mean, Max can be kind of goofy when he wants to be, but that was out of character, even for him.”
Chad’s eyes widened. It couldn’t be; he was out of her life. Jocelyn had assured him time and again. “Max? Max Shaw?”
“Yeah, that’s him.”
Grabbing Trevor by his shirt collar, Chad opened the door and dragged him inside, throwing him against a wall.
Another bouncer inside gripped his shoulder. “Easy, man. Everyone gets in when they get in.”
Chad twisted his head around, flashing fang. “Cover the outside. I need to talk to this guy for a minute.”
Backing away, the other bouncer slipped through the door as it swung shut. Trevor swatted Chad’s hand away, all pretense of friendliness disappearing. “What is your problem?”
His problem was he thought Max Shaw was dead and gone. “Where does he live?”
“Max? Last I knew he had a place in Bloomfield.”
“That’s south of here. He went north.”
Trevor pushed off from the paneling, his body a wall of muscle as he approached Chad. “Then you’ve got me. Haven’t spent a lot of time with Max in the last few years. Who knows where he keeps his coffin these days.”
“You let him out.”
“Yeah. I did.” He glowered down at Chad, the challenge evident in his eyes and tone as he leaned closer, using his height and size to intimidate.
“And you can’t help me find him.”
“Pity for you.” Chad reached up, grabbed Trevor around the ears and twisted sharply. The vampire’s neck snapped, and when he kicked the body back against the wall, the head came off in his hands, blood spraying for a second before everything turned to dust.
A spotlight swung Chad’s way, blinding him for a second as his eyes adjusted to the harsh glare. On stage, the band had stopped playing and Remy waved his hand in a flourish. “And that, boys and girls, is how you upstage the main act.”
The first human must have noticed the blood coating Chad’s face and clothes and let out a scream.
From across the club, Remy shouted into the mic, “Someone get a fucking handle on this place and clean up the mess.” Before Chad could reach for the door, the singer was at his side, hand holding tight to his arm. Remy’s eyes had bled completely to black. “Little boy, you’ve got some ’splaining to do.”
Sound fantastic, doesn’t it? And now on with the Interview.
1. Can you tell us a bit more about your book? Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write?
Kiss of Death is where the world I introduced in the prequel shorts (Of Course I Try and The Ghost of Vampire Present) really takes off. The shorts set things up, but in the most tangential way. Of Course I Try started as a 1300 word story for a writing challenge (basically the last 1300 words of the short were the original story), and I thought it was over and done with. But so many reviews I got insisted that there was more to the story that I started considering the possibilities. The Ghost of Vampire Present was written to give another angle on the buildup, and then Kiss of Death took off. The initial draft took about forty days to write (a lot of which happened during NaNoWriMo.)
2. Who’s your favourite character in the book?
That’s easy: Remy, always Remy. He sits on the council of elders, but he’s not old like the rest of them and they hate him for it. He cracks me up so much.
3. What has been your favourite part of this writing/publishing experience? The scariest?
This one in particular? The scariest was moving publishing houses. I appreciate Decadent for giving me my start with this series, but they are very much a romance publisher, and this isn’t a happily ever after kind of story. So when I decided to take it beyond the shorts, I knew if I didn’t want it to fall through the cracks, I had to take it someplace that really embraced urban fantasy. Thank goodness for Mundania and the brilliant Skyla Dawn Cameron. Her excitement over the book and working with me totally buoyed me up when I started worrying that I really wasn’t cut out for this business. And the fact that there are people really excited about this release. That makes me absolutely giddy!
4. What has been the best compliment you’ve received as an author?
This is kind of an odd one to answer. You see, I also write young adult fiction under a different name. At the Romantic Times convention this year, a woman bought my YA book for her daughter (who is “not a reader”). A short while after the con, she linked me to pictures of her daughter reading my book before school (by CHOICE!). Truly, that right there? Best. Compliment. Ever. I’m totally planning to send the girl a beta copy of book 2 when that particular mess gets straightened out.
5. Do you see writing as a career?
Most definitely. I know if I didn’t approach it that way, I’d still be writing but it would be one project a year maybe. Dawdling on the revisions. Maybe submitting, maybe not. I do have projects I haven’t subbed yet, but that’s because of time. I am always working on something. In fact, as soon as my current bout of editing madness finishes, I have a naughty holiday story to write and get subbed by the end of September.
6. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
In addition to hopefully selling that Christmas story, I have at least one more book coming in 2012. Love & Other Indoor Sports is part of the Cupid’s Conquests series I created for Evernight Publishing. It’s my first m/m romance as well as the first m/m in the series, so I’m really geeked about that. It should be out either in September or October. There is also another possibility between now and the holidays, but at this point, that’s a “please keep your fingers crossed” possibility. Then in 2013, I have a romantic suspense coming, the next in my steampunk romance series, and (tentatively) in June Kiss of Life.
7. You can pick one series to return to the TV. Firefly or Angel?
Easy. Firefly, no question. Angel had five seasons to tell its story and it did. Yes, there have been comics since that continue it, but I truly felt like it had a chance to “finish” its run. Firefly, on the other hand, was plagued with shoddy promo from Fox, episodes shown out of order, and not enough time to build a steady following for something that was truly different and groundbreaking (and didn’t have the advantage of being a spinoff from a very popular series). However, I wouldn’t want it back on without Whedon at the helm of the show and without a commitment to at least two seasons. If the show was back on the air, it deserves the chance it didn’t get the first time around.
8. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
Relax and don’t stress about having fun. Fun is allowed. Fun is good. And odds are, by the time you’re forty, you’ll have forgotten the majority of the things you’re studying so hard to remember. Do the work, but play too. Oh, and that break you’re on from writing—you know, the one you took to “get serious about your future”?—stop that shit. Stop it now. Write something. And then write something else. And stop trying to measure up to what other people want, just be the most awesome you you can be.
9. You get turned into a werewolf, who do you pee on first?
Dude, if I wanted to pee on someone that badly, I really don’t think I’d need to turn into a werewolf to do it. There’s a list of people I’m close to that done with. Don’t worry, you’re not on it. Yet. …Or am I supposed to be marking territory? In that case, there’s a shorter list. You’re not on that one either. Uh… sorry?
I’d like to thank Seleste for taking the time to answer my questions, and also for not wanting to pee on me. I think that’s pretty important.
If you want to read more about Seleste or her books, you can click on the links below:
The short story prequels, available from Decadent Publishing can be found here. And Kiss of Death from Mundania Press here in all formats. Additionally, all are available at a variety of online retailers.
Kiss of Death is on GoodReads as well, and you can find Seleste all over the internet.
Twitter as @Selestedelaney
Welcome back to part two of my introduction. If you missed yesterday, go here. I’ll wait.
And now on with my friends asking very poignant questions.
How long have you been married? How did you and your wife meet? Were you a writer before or after you met?
I’ve been married for just under 6 ½ years now, 7 in September. I met my wife in college and we started seeing each other about 3 years after we left. But that’s another story all together.
I’ve always written, but never considered myself a ‘writer’. That didn’t happen until a few years ago.
Do you ever write stories just for your child/children?
It’s a cop-out answer, but sort of. I usually just tell the story as I’m going, which means it changes every time. But I rarely write them down. I did write my eldest, Keira who’s 7, a letter from the tooth fairy apologising for not putting money under her pillow, which went down a storm. I was quite proud of it.
What made you decide to join a writing group?
I remember reading that joining a writing group can help with your writing, so I looked around and as I’m a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s books, I figured that would be a good fit for me. That was about 5 years ago now and I’ve not regretted it one bit. My writing has improved, but more importantly I’ve met some fantastic people, without whom I’d never have gotten this far.
How supportive is your family?
Very supportive. That’s the short answer. The longer one – You know the old adage that your family never tells you the truth? Well, if that’s true, then it’s clear that my family have some sort of personal vendetta against me. My wife is always happy to tell me what does and doesn’t work and what she doesn’t like. That said, she’s always pushed me to do better and when she likes something she does say so.
What video game character would you most like to be, and why?
As a bit of a videogame geek, I should probably try to come up with something obscure. But I’d quite like to be the main character from an Elder Scrolls games. Mostly because I could be whatever I pleased, but whatever it was, I’d be a badass.
How are you training your children for World Domination, and Universal Dictatorship?
Well Keira’s well on her way to World Domination through just being far too smart for her own good. I get the feeling my youngest (Faith is almost 2) is a “just likes to watch the world burn” kinda person. If there’s destruction to be had, she’s usually in the middle of it with a big grin on her face. No training required.
What inspired you to write Crimes Against Magic?
I’ve always been into mythology, magic and things that go bump in the night, so combining them all into one story felt like a natural fit. But I wanted to put my own spin on those old mythological tales. The hard part was trying to figure out what the real story might have been and separating it from the mythology. I figure if they were true, then for some, those tales must have been their version of propaganda. Trying to deconstruct that has hopefully led to some fun re-imagining of famous mythological characters. Basically, I wanted to write a book that I would like to read and it went from there.
Since I’ve had the pleasure of beta reading your MS, I can attest that you do mix history and mythology and weave them into an intriguing storyline. What kind of research went into writing the pieces that go back to the 1400’s. Do you find it difficult to transition between the past and present (keeping facts and details accurate)?
Firstly, thank you for the kind words.
When it comes to research, I tried to get the details correct as much as possible. I had to remove a lot of words that came about after that time period, which caused a few headaches. And I needed to check that certain weapons actually existed during that time.
I find it quite easy to jump between the two. I write the notes for the past and present sections separately and then try to figure out where the best places to jump between the two are. I wanted to use the past sections as the place where I can deposit the information about the world and things in it without losing the flow of the present plot. Hopefully that’s been achieved.
And there we have my first two posts. Hopefully, you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’d just like to thank everyone who took part in helping me do something a little different for a first post. Let this be the start of something entertaining.
Hello, and welcome to my very first ever blog post. Which is both terrifying and quite exciting.
What will this blog be about? Mostly, it’ll be about writing and my progress at self-publishing my first book (Crimes Against Magic) in a few months time. But it’ll also be about whatever comes to mind at the time I sit down to write the newest post.
To do something a little different for my first post, I enlisted (or forced/blackmailed, depending on your point of view) some friends of mine to come up with some interview questions for me. Each of their names will take you to their blog, so please feel free to go there and nose around.
So, let’s get underway.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
Commander Sir Samuel Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch. He’s a smart, capable, badass and an utterly ruthless bastard. He’s also deeply flawed and went from a drunk who spent most of the time lying in a gutter, to becoming one of the most feared and respected members of the city through sheer ability and determination to get the bad-guy. I could read stories about him, and the watch in general, all day.
Most unique or unusual research you’ve ever done for a book?
There’s two things here. I contacted the fire brigade and asked them how you’d hide a fire so that it didn’t appear to be arson. I got put through to a very nice, if slightly confused, member of their fire investigations unit who (after a lot of explaining on my part) was very kind to walk me through how to do it. Basically if you want to do research, tell them you’re writing a book. You’d be surprised how many weird questions are answered without worry.
The Second was when I got to go the underground, no public allowed areas of the Imperial War Museum in London to look at some 16th century guns. That was a pretty cool day.
What do you consider to be the major world event of your life thus far, and why?
No hesitation at all – The births of my daughters, Keira and Faith. Both were amazing, although for very different reasons. I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared, concerned, awe inspired, utterly overwhelmed and blissfully happy all at the same time.
Keira’s birth seven years ago gave me the jolt to get serious about my writing.
What are your three (3) favorite books of all time and why?
My favourite books change on a daily basis, sometimes even more often than that. But today:
Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan: The best Sci-fi book I’ve ever read. Probably the most violent and fun too.
Men at Arms – Terry Pratchett: I could have picked any of the guards books for this one, but Men at Arms got me into reading Terry Practhett, so it makes the list.
Preacher – Garth Ennis. Not a novel, but a comic book. Preacher is not the book for people easily offended. It’s about Jesse Custer, a Preacher who is merged with Genesis (the product of merging an angel and a demon) that gives him the power of the Word of God, which makes people obey him. It’s incredible, funny, moving and utterly insane. It should also be required reading for anything even thinking about writing comics.
Hon Mentions – Usagi Yojimbo. Another comic book. This one about a Samurai Rabbit. Yes, you read that right. All of the characters are anthropomorphic animals, which replace humans in a 17th century Japan setting. It’s a fantastic book that can’t come highly recommended enough from me.
Tell us about the kind of writing you do: what genre, length, topics etc…
I write Urban Fantasy, although I do have a Sci-fi and Epic Fantasy story floating around my head somewhere. I’ve got some ideas for short-stories too. But for the moment, full-length Urban Fantasy is where I’m happily staying.
Do you write in silence or with music? If music, what kind?
Silence normally. I switch off all of background noise when I really start writing, so if the TV/music is on and I concentrate on the writing, I exclude everything else anyway. If I do listen to music, it’s when I’m trying to figure out a scene and need to have the mood set. So depending on the scene, it depends on the music. Mostly it’ll be things like, Foo Fighters, Black Stone Cherry or Joe Bonamassa.
When did you first start writing seriously? Like with a mind to pursue publishing?
I wrote a book about four years ago called For Past Sins. That was my first attempt at seriously getting a book done for publishing. In hindsight, it wasn’t good enough and I re-started with Crimes Against Magic.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Books, anime, videogames, TV, films. All over the place, to be honest. I’ll be walking down the street and something will pop into my head, or I’ll be watching TV and I’ll see something I quite like. From there it sort of evolves inside me. Which is a slightly weird now that I think about it.
What was the hardest scene to write?
In Crimes Against Magic? The first major sex scene was pretty (excuse the pun) hard work. Mostly because getting the tone right in a sex scene is actually quite difficult. Other than that, the first chapter. That went through about a dozen re-writes.
What advice would you give to aspiring and unpublished authors?
Don’t let the bastards get you down.
In all seriousness, learn to take criticism. Not nasty, unnecessary stuff, which doesn’t help at all, I mean real constructive criticism. Personally, joining a good writing group helps, and you’ll learn how to critique others too, which in turn will improve your writing dramatically. But above all, enjoy yourself. Because if you’re not enjoying writing, you’re doing it wrong.
Well that’s it for part one. Yes, part one. Originally it was going to be one long post, but it just got longer and longer. Now, part two will be posted tomorrow. So, check back then to read even more very interesting things about me. Like how I discovered Cold Fusion, or am a spy. Or you know, stuff about writing, whichever sounds more plausible.